The Imagined Moment


The Imagined Moment

Time, Narrative, and Computation

Inderjeet Mani

Frontiers of Narrative Series

264 pages
34 illustrations, 4 tables, 1 glossary


June 2010


$50.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

June 2010


$50.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Time is a key aspect of narrative. It can advance a story, illuminate its role in our daily lives, and help us understand how events unfold. In this groundbreaking interdisciplinary work, Inderjeet Mani uses recent developments in linguistics and computer science to analyze the use of time in narrative form.
The Imagined Moment outlines directions for an emerging discipline of “corpus narratology,” an approach involving the computer analysis and interpretation of multimillion-word collections of narrative text. This approach, Mani explains, could alter the very foundations of narrative theory. Accordingly, he develops a computer representation for timelines and applies it to a variety of literary works. Among these are such classics as One Hundred Years of Solitude, “A Hunger Artist,” Swann’s Way, Jealousy, Candide, and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” Along the way, Mani considers stories embedded in temporal cycles; the cognitive processes involved in the construal of events in time; the modeling of narrative progression in terms of changes in readers’ evaluation of characters; the study of variations of tempo in fiction; and time in computer-mediated forms of storytelling.

Author Bio

Inderjeet Mani is a visiting scholar in the Department of Computer Science at Brandeis University, and senior principal scientist at the MITRE Corporation in Bedford, Massachusetts. He has also been a visiting fellow of the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, and an associate professor of linguistics at Georgetown University. He is the author or coeditor of several books, including The Language of Time and Automatic Summarization.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

List of Tables



1. Timelines

2. Stories within Stories

3. Computing Timelines

4. Calendar Times

5. Time in Mind

6. Characters in Time

7. Tracking Narrative Progression

8. Time Management

9. Digital Storytelling




Tool and Resource Links



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